Electronic information systems and social work: principles of participatory design for social workers


  • Philip Gillingham University of Queensland




Participatory design, electronic information systems


The introduction of electronic information systems (IS) to human service organizations has been heavily critiqued, most notably for the ways that they may undermine frontline social work practice. Socio-technical design has been proposed as one means to redesign IS and a key element of this approach is the involvement of practitioners in the design process. Social workers, though, may be ill-prepared to engage in such processes. Reflecting on the findings of a program of research which aims to contribute to future designs of IS that support frontline practice, the aim in this article is to provide some guidance for social workers that will assist them to be active and effective participants in the future development of IS.

Author Biography

Philip Gillingham, University of Queensland

Dr Gillingham is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of Queensland, Australia